Hundreds of churches across the world are tolling funeral bells to remind of the suffering of the Syrian city of Aleppo, which has been under crippling siege and bombardment for months
Assad regime, backed by Russia, said on September 22 it was starting a new wide offensive to recapture the rebel-held parts of Aleppo after a week-long ceasefire was declared officially over on 19 September.
Since 19 September, more than 800 civilians were killed and more than 2000 injured in rebel-held areas of Aleppo province, including the besieged eastern part of the city, Civil defense workers said.
The Lutheran parish of Kallio in Helsinki, Finland started ringing its bells on Oct. 12 after the intensified bombing of the opposition-held parts of Aleppo city by Russia and Assad regime’s warplanes.
In a symbolic gesture, hundreds of churches in Finland and abroad are tolling their bells to commemorate the lives lost in Aleppo.
Those who were behind the initiative created a website, a Facebook page and a Twitter hashtag under the name of “Bells for Aleppo,” to support their initiative and invite more churches to join them.
“After reading the news that day, of Aleppo, we decided to ring funeral bells at 5 p.m. to remember the death. First I just asked a few local churches to join us,” Teemu Laajasalo, vicar of the Kallio parish told Reuters.
— LWF (@LWFWeb) October 15, 2016
— Suomen ev.lut.kirkko (@kirkko_evl) October 15, 2016
According to the site, more than 500 churches from 20 countries, including Britain, United States and Australia, have signed up.
“There is no moral argument that can justify the bombing of humanitarian aid or that of churches. In particular, there are no grounds for the destruction of the lives of civilians, including many children”, Dr Teemu Laajasalo, vicar of the Kallio Parish says on the website.
“Killing children and civilians is wrong. Hospitals and schools are being bombed, and little children are being killed. So something has to be done,” Laajasalo told USA Today.
“These are funeral bells,” he says, “and funeral bells are normally tolled when the body is carried out. For those in Aleppo, it is nonstop funerals. So when you hear these bells, you don’t know how to take that.”
Each church taking part will ring funeral bells every day at 5 until Oct. 24, United Nations Day.
The campaign’s website invites more churches to join tolling their bells for Aleppo.
“Everybody all around the world, join the ringing and join the protest to help stop the suffering in Aleppo,” the website read.
The Syrian crisis began as a peaceful demonstration against the injustice in Syria. Assad regime used to fire power and violence against the civilians and led to armed resistance. 450.000 Syrians lost their lives in the past five years according to UN estimates, and more than 12 million have lost their homes.
— Matthias Wjst (@wjstde) October 21, 2016
— TrojcaLuteranie (@TrojcaLuteranie) October 21, 2016